Hayden Cinema launches comedy night

With the demand for stand-up comedy on a steady rise, Hayden Cinema is officially bringing live comedy to the big screen – that is, to a stage just in front of the big screen.

Hosted by Hayden Cinema manager Brian Rasor, the event will feature several local comics including special guest Josiah Carlson, Laura Branning, D Abrams and, headlining the evening, Ken McComb. With alcohol served by Mad Bomber Brewing, this event is for ages 21 and older. Shows start at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm on Mondays. Doors open at 6:30 pm

Rasor has dreamed of opening a comedy club for more than a decade. But he couldn’t have imagined a wilder way of finally doing so.

Although born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, Rasor was just finishing a four-year stint in Connecticut when, in early 2022, he decided to visit his girlfriend over Valentine’s Day. At the time, she was living in Ukraine.

“I was halfway through my trip and … the war broke out,” he said. It took them three days of taxis, trains and buses to get out of Kiev. And in the midst of strategizing, Rasor called his former boss at Hayden Cinema, Mike Lehosit.

Somehow, Lehosit was able to help the couple find and pay for a hotel outside of Ukraine, in Slovakia. And during another call, he offered Rasor a job he couldn’t turn down.

“So, I said, ‘Well, whenever you want to, get out here – and let’s do a comedy show,’ ” Lehosit said. “And I think he just said, ‘OK, this our date – we’re gonna do it – put the pressure on.’ ”

Now settled in Hayden, Rasor has been glad to have his mind back on comedy again.

“I’ve been doing comedy for 13 years,” he said, mentioning the time he spent on the East Coast. “I did shows and some competitions over there at the Broadway Comedy Club, and then I was obsessed with the Gotham Comedy Club in New York.”

When it came to planning the Hayden Cinema show, Rasor had a couple of names in mind. He knew McComb and Abrams from open mic nights at Uncle D’s Comedy Underground back in 2019. The others he found through Spokane Comedy Club.

“I was going there every Wednesday,” he said. “It took maybe a month and a half, ever since me and Mike started trying to plan this out.”

Rasor looks forward to providing more opportunities for local comics down the road.

“There’s a lot more comedians over there on the East Coast, and it’s harder to break in to do shows over there,” he said. “You have to know somebody that knows somebody who’s putting on a show or you’ve gotta put your time in – years of work and open minds, then you got to get, you know, the booker or the manager of the club has to take a chance on you.”

But locally, a lot of venues still worry about taking a chance on comedy.

Of course, he said, “I’m putting it on myself, so it’s a little bit easier.”

Post-pandemic, with the surge of comedy specials coming out on various streaming platforms and growing audiences at local shows, he’s noticed a real appetite for stand-up. Since announcing the show on social media, members of the community have already started reaching out to ask about future shows.

“People want something to do, they just don’t want to go to concerts all the time.”

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